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Special to The PREVIEW
A common refrain heard by anyone who has or has had children is, “I left my coat (gloves/hat/backpack/etc.) at school and now I can’t find it.”
Certainly, parents often have to replace clothing items long before they are worn out or outgrown due to the irritatingly common childhood habit of leaving coats, hats, gloves, backpacks and books behind while they go to play.
For some parents, replacing t things is not an option. For people on a low fixed income or working several jobs for minimum wage, if a child loses a coat, they simply have to go without. That is, unless there are generous people who have their back.
Many years ago, the women of St. Patrick’s recognized that there are many people in our county who cannot afford to buy heavy coats, snow boots, warm socks, or other winter clothes. Teachers reported children attending school during the cold winter months wearing a light sweater over thin summer clothes and tennis shoes with no socks. The core Christian beliefs held by the women at St. Patrick’s insisted something be done to help. They came up with the idea of holding an annual Clothing Giveaway.
As has been their tradition, for the past months, the women of St. Patrick’s have been accepting generous donations of gently used clothes and storing them at Airport Storage. Today, the unit is filled to capacity with clothing for children, women, and men, including warm winter coats, shoes, an abundance of clothes for all seasons, toys and some housewares. These items will be given away on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 8 a.m.-noon.
“This is one of the most gratifying and fun events of the year for the parishioners of St. Patrick’s,” said Fr. Doug Neel, rector of the church. “Truly, anyone can come and take these clothes home. There is no limit to the amount that can be taken, nor do we pass judgment on those who show up. There is no litmus test as to levels of need. We simply want to get rid of every item of clothing and we hope that those who take them will enjoy them. Often people will come to pick up clothes for someone they know can use them and who cannot attend themselves. This may be for young couples with new babies, or who are just starting out on their own. Truly, need comes in all sorts of packages.”
There will be women posted at the doors of the parish hall welcoming their guests and handing out huge plastic bags, encouraging them to take as much as they want.
“This process has worked very well every year,” said Fr. Doug. “Those who come are generally very respectful of others, and show amazing self-restraint in what they choose. Often we have to encourage them to take more. There is such an abundance of clothes that everyone walks away with something they can use and far more than they anticipated receiving.”